ILNews

Court splits over motion for discharge ruling

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An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues in a Criminal Rule 4(B) motion for discharge case, disagreeing with the interpretation of language in Jenkins v. State regarding the relevant time for purposes of determining whether a defendant can file a pro se motion for a speedy trial.

In Corey Fletcher v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-1009-CR-1096, Corey Fletcher was charged Oct. 28, 2009, with various drug offenses. A public defender was appointed for him Feb. 19, 2010, and he was scheduled to go to trial May 11, 2010. Two weeks later, the appointed public defender was removed and the court appointed a new public defender. That same day, Fletcher filed a pro se motion for a fast and speedy trial. Fletcher’s new public defender didn’t file an appearance form until March 5, 2010, three days after Fletcher filed the pro se motion.

At a telephone status conference in April, Fletcher’s attorney objected to resetting the trial date past May 11. On May 12, the attorney filed a motion for discharge under Ind. Criminal Rule 4(B), which was denied. Fletcher was later convicted of two of the charges.

The issue is whether the trial court improperly denied Fletcher’s motion to discharge. The majority, after analyzing Jackson v. State, 663 N.E.2d 766, 769 (Ind. 1996), Underwood v. State, 722 N.E.2d 828, 832 (Ind. 2000), and Jenkins v. State, 809 N.E.2d 361 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), ruled the trial court did err. The majority disagreed with the holding in Jenkins to the extent that it implies that the appointment of counsel and not the appearance of counsel is the relevant time period for determining whether a defendant may file a pro se motion for a speedy trial.

The state had argued that, as was ruled in Underwood, “once counsel was appointed, Defendant spoke to the court through counsel.” Judge Ezra Friedlander agreed with the state’s position, writing in his dissent that Fletcher didn’t clearly object to the appointment of counsel, nor did he unequivocally express that he wanted to proceed with a hybrid representation, so it leads to the conclusion Fletcher acquiesced in representation by appointed counsel.

Because counsel had been appointed before Fletcher filed his early trial motion, the court wasn’t required to accept the motion for filing or grant it, he wrote.

The majority reversed the denial of Fletcher’s motion for discharge.

 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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